Great Wall utes fail to star in crash tests
September 29, 2009
CHINESE vehicles have a cloud over their safety credentials after the first imports to Australia performed woefully in local crash tests.
Utes made by Great Wall Motors scored just two stars and "failed to protect the driver and passenger from injury" due to loss of structural integrity, according to the test body.
"The results for the Great Wall vehicles were particularly disappointing as these are new models to the market," ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh said yesterday.
He said many commercial vehicles were now achieving crash test results of four or five stars and offered safety comparable with passenger cars.
"Crash statistics show that occupants of one or two-star vehicles have twice the risk of receiving life-threatening injuries in a crash compared with four or five-star vehicles," he said.
The Proton Jumbuck ute, imported from Malaysia, performed even worse, attaining just a one-star rating although it is about to replaced by a new model.
The Great Wall Motors utes, the first Chinese-brand vehicles to be imported to Australia, reached showrooms in July and 500 have been sold.
The poor result risks reigniting controversy over the safety of Chinese-made vehicles, which flared in Europe when the first export SUVs, badged Landwind, crumpled in crash tests four years ago.
According to local importer Ateco Automotive, the Great Wall result was solid and had nothing in common with the unofficial Landwind tests.
"This is the first official NCAP test of a Chinese vehicle anywhere," Ateco Automotive spokesman Daniel Cotterill said.
"The tests done in Europe some years ago made spectacular video but to what standards, who knows. Our utes don't look anything like that."
A Great Wall engineer witnessed the tests and the Chinese were already working on improvements to the utes, he said.